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full of menacing or malign influences; pernicious.
Obsolete. wretched; miserable.
Contemporary Examples

She will unearth more than their remains in a quest that becomes a journey of baleful discovery and painful self-discovery.
Holocaust Horrors Haunt the Films ‘Ida’ And ‘The German Doctor’ Jack Schwartz May 11, 2014

Historical Examples

The boat which has been tethered to the weird, baleful shore is set free, and sails toward the glories of the morning.
My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year John Henry Jowett

Of all mortal possessions they are the most useless, mischievous, and baleful.
Imogen William Godwin

If we reject it the vivid colors will grow pale; it will be a baleful meteor, portending tempest and war.
Washington and the American Republic, Vol. 3. Benson J. Lossing

THEN the baleful fiend its fire belched out, and bright homes burned.
Beowulf Anonymous

It is not its power, but its treachery that is dreadful—the guise of friendship hiding a baleful purpose underneath.
The Tenants of Malory Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

Richard paled under the baronet’s baleful, half-sneering glance.
Mistress Wilding Rafael Sabatini

It was hard to smile at the bright, baleful face with the menace in the eyes.
A Voice in the Wilderness Grace Livingston Hill

This was, of course, Mary Grey, bound upon her baleful errand.
Victor’s Triumph Mrs. E. D. E. N. Southworth

Everyone inherits something from the baleful institution, but not everyone the same.
The Soul of John Brown Stephen Graham

harmful, menacing, or vindictive
(archaic) dejected

Old English bealu-full “dire, wicked, cruel,” from bealu “harm, injury, ruin, evil, mischief, wickedness, a noxious thing,” from Proto-Germanic *balwom (cf. Old Saxon balu, Old Frisian balu “evil,” Old High German balo “destruction,” Old Norse bol, Gothic balwjan “to torment”), from PIE root *bheleu- “to beat.” During Anglo-Saxon times, the noun was in poetic use only (e.g. bealubenn “mortal wound,” bealuðonc “evil thought”), and for long baleful was extinct, but it was revived by modern romantic poets. Related: Balefully.


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